Man convicted in gruesome Maui machete attack accused of fatally beating fellow inmate

Updated: Aug. 20, 2020 at 6:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The man who claimed he saw demons moments before using a machete to slash a man’s throat at a Maui mall is now accused in another killing.

Police sources say Kumulipo Sylva beat an elderly inmate to death on Wednesday at Halawa Correctional Facility. The 70-year-old victim was repeatedly kicked in the head during an argument around 10 a.m. inside a lunchroom in Module 7. The inmate died within an hour of arriving at the hospital.

Now, investigators are working to determine what prompted the attack.

“There have been a series of signs with Mr. Sylva,” said attorney Jeffrey Foster.

“Whether it’s his purported mental illness, whether it’s his propensity for violence. Whatever it may be, the signs appeared to have been ignored once again.”

Foster says news of the latest killing came as a blow to the family of Alex Cerezo. The young father was the victim of the vicious machete attack in 2018.

In January, Sylva was sentenced to 20 years in prison for nearly decapitating Cerezo inside a bathroom at Queen Kaahumanu Center. Sylva was charged with second-degree murder but jurors convicted the 25-year-old on a lesser count of manslaughter “based on extreme mental and emotional disturbance.”

Police sources say Wednesday’s attack was broken up after a corrections officer called for back-up.

Records show the man who died was serving life in prison for crimes committed in the 1980s, including attempted murder of a man and the rape and kidnapping of a child.

Foster hopes action will be taken.

“Mr. Sylva is a danger,” he said. “The need for some type of intervention whether it’s through a mental institution, solitary confinement. I don’t know what the answer is. I hope that the folks at Halawa are going to come up with a solution that’s going to keep folks safe over there.”

Prison officials would not confirm where Sylva is currently and whether or not he’s been placed in isolation.

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